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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
July 7, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Consumer Affairs
- Kimberly Ricketts, Director

 

Jeff Lamm
Genene Morris
973-504-6327

 

Attorney General and Division of Consumer Affairs Settle Lawsuit Involving Rockaway Bedding

NEWARK — The Attorney General’s Office and Division of Consumer Affairs have reached a settlement with Rockaway Bedding, Inc. and Try-A-Bed, Inc. (“Rockaway”), under which Rockaway has agreed to comply with New Jersey consumer protection laws, revise its advertising and delivery practices, and follow specified procedures to resolve current and future consumer complaints, Attorney General Peter C. Harvey and Consumer Affairs Director Kimberly Ricketts announced today.

The agreement resolves a lawsuit filed by the Attorney General in December 2003 alleging that Rockaway violated New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act and Regulations in its advertisement, sale and delivery of mattresses, box springs and other bedding supplies. As part of the agreement, Rockaway will pay the State $437,500 to cover attorneys’ fees and investigative costs and to fund future consumer protection initiatives.

"A new mattress is a major purchase, one that can cost over $1,000, and this settlement will make the buying process clearer and more understandable for the consumer," Acting Governor Richard J. Codey said. "This agreement empowers consumers and plainly states their rights to have the selected mattress delivered at the expected time for the agreed upon price."

Rockaway has worked cooperatively with the State by implementing changes to its advertising, among other things.

“New Jersey residents are entitled to a fair and honest deal,” said Attorney General Harvey. “Under this settlement, Rockaway Bedding must change how its advertises and delivers its products, so consumers get what they pay for and get it on time.”

Under the agreement, Consumer Affairs will notify the 70 existing complainants within 15 days that their complaints have been forwarded to Rockaway and that they should expect a response from Rockaway within 45 days. Those customers have the right to refer their complaints to Consumer Affairs’ Alternative Dispute Resolution Unit for binding arbitration if Rockaway disputes their complaints or requested relief.

Under the terms of the settlement, Consumer Affairs will forward additional customer complaints to Rockaway for a period of one year. Rockaway must then respond to the customer within 30 days of its receipt of the complaint. Those additional customers also will have the right to refer their complaints to the Alternative Dispute Resolution Unit for binding arbitration if Rockaway disputes the complaint or requested relief.

“The customer will know if an item is in stock and will be given in writing a specific delivery date. The customer also will be informed in writing of their rights if the promised delivery date is missed,” Director Ricketts said. “We don’t want lives needlessly disrupted as customers re-arrange their schedules to be home and the delivery doesn’t come.”

This matter was handled by Deputy Attorney General Geoffrey R. Gersten of the Division of Law and Investigator Allyson Garner of the Division of Consumer Affairs.

Also, under terms of the settlement, in its advertisement of merchandise, Rockaway, among other things, will:

  • Specifically designate which merchandise has special or limiting factors relating to price, quality, condition or availability;
  • Clearly and conspicuously disclose terms of any financing policy and state all limiting factors in close proximity to the policy;
  • Clearly and conspicuously disclose any conditions to special offers, such as “free delivery”;
  • Not use a fictitious former price when referencing a former price;
  • Not place within an advertisement a combination of low price and graphic depiction of higher priced merchandise, to obscure the fact that the price is not for the depicted merchandise; Not depict “coupons” when the “coupons” cannot be used for additional savings;
  • Not advertise merchandise (e.g. box springs) as “free”, when in fact the merchandise is not free.

    Rockaway has also agreed to:
  • Prominently disclose, at its retail locations in the State, all material terms, time periods and/or fees relating to its refund and exchange policies;
  • Clearly provide to customers the choice of canceling an order with a prompt and full refund of any payment that has been made or accepting delivery at a later date, if the original delivery date is missed; and
  • Ensure that their customer service agents accurately convey to customers the material terms of all refund and exchange policies.

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